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10 Of London’s Best Alternative Walking Tours

Samuel Hopkins Samuel Hopkins - Staff Writer

Alternative walking tours

You’ll get the chance to explore the debauched, macabre and downright cheesy (yep, you read that right) parts of London Town. Harry Potter may also make a surprise appearance… if that doesn’t tempt you, who knows what will.

1. The London Cheese Crawl

Walking tours

If you aren’t raring to join this alternative walking tour, then there’s clearly something wrong with you (to be fair, that thing might be lactose intolerance, which we can forgive of course). Wandering from Mayfair to Covent Garden, you’ll take part in a cheese trivia quiz, munch on some delectable blue cheese at Fortnum & Mason’s legendary cheese counter, and finish up with an artisanal cheese board in Covent Garden. You’ll also be able to sample *ahem* drunk cheeses – or cheese soaked in barrels of wine – in London’s ‘Little Italy’. You can sign me up! Nab your tickets here. 

2. The Secret London Walking Tour

Alternative walking tours

Nope, it’s not actually run by us – that would be a heavily food-and-booze-based tour, I’d guess with numerous stops at different pubs – but it’s still pretty great! Uncovering the city’s secret alleys, ancient pubs, old bookshops and lost societies, you’ll scratch a little further beneath the surface of the English capital on this alternative walking tour and get well off the tourist trail. Get involved here.

3. The Hidden London Tour

London

Sherlock Holmes fans – we’re looking at you. If you think you know our beloved city, you’d better think again. Lying beneath the streets and behind the gleaming modern buildings are secret rivers and wells, tiny lanes, and ancient cloisters just waiting to be discovered. You’re guaranteed to learn loads, and it’s a brilliant way to spend an afternoon. So get ready to get your inner sleuth on…

4. Secret Old London Walking Tour

Alternative walking tours

This walking tour will give you the chance to amble through the streets of ancient London with a guide and learn exactly what lies beneath your feet. Throughout the 90-minute tour, you’ll see the memorial to Braveheart himself, Mel Gibson (ok actually William Wallace), and will also discover where the Great Fire of London, well, burnt itself out. You’ll also take a wander through the graveyard of the ‘finest Medieval church in London’ – that’s some title right!? Grab your tickets here.

5. Sex, Drugs and Sausage Rolls

Alternative walking tours

Henry VIII was famous for many things – cutting off two of his wifes’ heads is just one example – but did you know that he was also grumpy, corrupt and one of his beloved cardinals was once caught with his pants around his ankles? You’ll delve into all this Tudor history and more on this alternative walking tour, which takes in grime, debauchery and downright FILTH! You’ll learn why poo was so valuable back then and also why it was so good to get a love bite from the Rat Queen of London’s sewers – yep, you read that right. Cop your tickets here.

6. The Harry Potter Walking Tour

Christmas specials

Potterheads – we’re looking at you. This walking tour will give you the chance to follow in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermoine as they wandered around Muggle London in those beloved books and films. You’ll visit the real ‘Diagon Alley’ – where Harry bought his first wand from Olivander – the Millenium Bridge which was destroyed by the death eaters in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Leaky Cauldron inn. Who knows, you may even be able to order a pint of butterbeer if you’re lucky (wishful thinking).

7. Darkside London: Death, Fire and Execution

Alternative walking tours

Yeah… this alternative walking tour ain’t that lighthearted we’ll be honest. But it is damn interesting! London’s a city of hopes and dreams, but it’s also one of death and betrayal. We’re not trying to be dramatic – after all, this is the city where Jack the Ripper stalked the streets and where thousands were executed for treason. Sites ticked off on this alternative walking tour include the oldest house which survived the Great Fire of London and the site where society darling Lady Elizabeth Hatton was torn ‘limb from limb’. It’s called ‘Bleeding Heart Yard’ – yikes! Cop your tickets here.

8. Gangster London Walking Tour

If anyone has seen Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you’ll know the guide for this one. It’s none other than Vas Blackwood (AKA Rory Breaker) who, over the course of two hours, will regale you with tales of London’s murky criminal underworld. You’ll learn all about the methods used by notorious gangsters – including the famous Kray twins – to elicit important information, and you’ll also visit some of the sites around Whitechapel used in The Crying Game, Gangster No. 1 and Lock, Stock of course.

9. Darkside London: See the Occult Temple

Alternative walking tours

Aren’t we just full of joy! Another pretty dark one here – this time to see the ominous sounding ‘Temple of the Occult’ and a whole host of different graveyards. You’ll hear tales of pantomime clowns, dancing on graves and Queen Elizabeth I’s first death warrant – damn spooky stuff. You’ll also see a whole host of dissected moles in the Grant Museum of Zoology and will visit other haunted spots – yeah, this one’s pretty interesting to say the least. Find out more here.

10. Historical Pub Walking Tour

Pub

If it isn’t obvious enough yet, here at Secret London, we bloody love a pub come rain or shine. So we had to include this alternative walking tour – I mean what better way to spend three-and-a-half hours than by pub-hopping?! You’ll follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens and other famous historical folk as you quench your thirst in four of London’s most famous pubs – some with heaters outside – including one ‘gin palace’! Chin chin.

Feature Image: Gary Knight

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